“Sometimes people put up walls, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”
It’s nice to see a series like ‘Ao Haru Ride’ surface every now and again. Something that takes a well-known storyline type and adds some unique elements to differ the experience a bit. Nothing revolutionary or mind-blowing (doesn’t need to be), but unique - to a pleasant degree - nonetheless. To put it as simply as possible: a refreshing visit to a familiar kind of storyline.
There’s nothing overly complicated about the core plot; a story of two past lovers (in mutual spirit) reuniting later in
their lives – a second chance. But, it’s the underlying layers and nuances woven throughout the narrative that strengthen and elevate it (a little bit) above the cliché romp it could have been.
Now, that’s not to say that some parts of the show won’t have you thinking “I know where this is going.” or “Really?” But compared to many others storylines of this type (Hollywood movies, novels, etc.) this is quite refreshing in a multitude of ways…
‘Ao Haru Ride’ thankfully helps ease the viewer through the inevitable drama by adding in unique characters with their own individual personalities, great humor (naturally occurring through the characters) and by giving the viewer some room to breathe. It helps negate the stress of the drama somewhat, allowing it to become a plus rather than a minus.
So overall, the plot is rather solid considering the material – don’t expect perfection though.
Production I.G has once again done a great job using their high quality of animation (as they are well known for animating action and effect-heavy anime) to animate something more tame and simple. The animation is cheery, energetic and bright – with a color palette that matches that very well. There were no drops in quality that I could find, and the few scenes with lots of motion were done well too.
The background music compliments the series well – enhancing the current scene or giving a sense of the emotions present during a silent moment. A few of the tracks stand out on their own too, especially the opening track that, while being fun and energetic, is also surprisingly calm. It makes for a lovely lyrical meld of two differing emotions.
On the voice-acting side of things, everything is great. Everyone was well cast and emoted well. I know that seems direct, short and to the point, but that’s really all that needs to be said concerning the seiyū and their performances – they did very well.
Since the only outstanding things about the secondary characters also tie into underlying plot points not mentioned in the synopsis, I won’t talk about anyone other than our main two: Yoshioka and Kou.
First we have Yoshioka, our main character. Yoshioka is an energetic, good-natured, kind and boisterous girl who loves the company of other people and having fun. Her naivety, energy and charm make her a fun character to follow onscreen. She goes through some decent character development as she matures a little and meets new people – the most important of whom is her past love-interest (and second main character), Kou.
Kou is a very complicated character. In the past he was soft-spoken, kind, and dedicated. Now though, he is much more aloof, dry, and tactless – but there are hints abundant that the old Kou is still in there somewhere. Over the course of the series, we find out more about him and what caused this change (which is all I can say without veering into spoiler territory).
Honestly, I enjoyed this series a lot more than I thought I would. I heard good things, but still kept my expectations low as I always do when watching a new show. In its entirety, this anime managed to pleasantly exceed my expectations.
It’s not the best melodrama anime out there, but it’s not a horrible anime in any sense of the word either. What it is, is a rather well done love story that’s definitely worth a watch.
Welcome to the Vanilla cafe. Would you like to pre-order a vanilla pudding with vanilla toppings from our vanilla menu?
Ao Haru Ride is a shoujo romance slice of life manga adaptation of the same name. It follows a story of a curious high-schooler girl wishing to find out what happened to her crush from three years ago and why did he change. It has "generic" and Kimi ni Todoke written all over it just from looking at the cover, and going deeper, it further proves this statement.
Futaba Yoshioka is your average 1st year in high school, who wishes to change herself and find new friends.
She stumbles across her middle school crush, Kou Tanaka, who has changed his name to Kou Mabuchi. Shocked to find his personality completely changed, she starts testing her feelings for him, all in attempt to find out what happened to his old self.
The premise screams vanilla and generic all over the place, and it is just as it looks. It is your average shoujo romance with a double unrelated love triangle introduced later on. There is just nothing driving the romance forward and it uses cheap gimmicks in an attempt to move it further but it is really an uninteresting story once you get familiar with the characters. The main love triangle feels very artificial and is only there to make some progress, and the secondary love triangle isn't explored at all. The plot devices the anime introduce to kickstart an event are quickly forgotten. And, in the end, nothing happens. It is extremely predictable from the very start and not engaging. However, for an anime that is entirely character-driven, plot shortcomings aren't as important as in other shows.
The story follows a group of 5 teenagers. Starting from the worst, we have Murao, a silent and self-centered girl that later is not like that, for some reasons hardly mentioned. She is bland and uninteresting, but is a main piece of the second love triangle, as Kominato has a crush on her, and she has a crush on Kou's brother, Tanaka-sensei. Kominato himself is just a friendly and energetic guy, nothing else to say about him, he's not relevant at all. Yuuri is a shy but sweet girl who is a piece of the main love triangle, but it feels like she is just a plot device thrown in to escalate the plot. She has some sort of characterization and personality though, so she's not a bad character per se, but really underwhelming going against the main duo. Tanaka-sensei, Kou's brother, is an important character in Kou's personal drama and life and manages to have some good characterization in relatively short screen time.
And here we have our main duo, with the main protagonist Futaba going first. Futaba is a rather curious and gentle girl who has a crush on Kou but starts questioning her feelings after meeting him, after she got supposedly dumped by him several years ago, and circles around Kou to find out more about his changed personality. Futaba is not a great character by herself, as she is rather simple and two dimensional at most, but the best part about her is that she makes some great character interactions with Kou and the rest of the squad. There's nothing special about her, but she is the one that moves the story forward entirely by herself.
Kou is the best character in the series, surprisingly because he acts as a pseudo-plot device for Futaba. His personal drama and personality change is done very, very well and is the biggest highlight of the show. He has an "I don't care" mentality and acts like a typical jerk, but for some reason the group constantly tries to get along with him instead of leaving him alone. His story was predictable, but executed well after all, and is the only part of the show that didn't come off as bland and boring. (like the rest of the show)
For a character driven show, only two characters are relevant to the story at all. And that is really bad. At first you would have some sort of hope that you get to see a lot of interesting character interactions and different approaches to romance from different characters and how they react and develop from it but in reality, once you get familiar with the characters (around half of the show), all of them, except for Futaba and Kou (and plot device Yuuri) become completely irrelevant. And that is not how an anime should treat its cast. There was a limit to how much Kou and his story could have carried the rest of the show, and he alone couldn't quite reach the top.
For the comedy, it is simple reactional stuff over and over again. Something happens, characters react and you are supposed to laugh. Basic, but it actually works better here than other shows since you have some sort of attachment to characters and most of the comedy comes from at times funny interactions between Futaba and Kou. There's no fanservice to keep you interested, and although it doesn't ruin the narrative by being there, which is a good thing, the show actually got boring mid-way through so I don't know, maybe they should have had that? There's not so much slice of life to talk about, but Futaba's wish to not be labeled as an outcast once she experiences that in middle school is done quite decently and worth mentioning (along with Yuuri's situation, although she is just ruined later on)
There aren't any obvious writing mistakes, apart from the extreme overuse of wind in dramatic or tense situations, but I would like to mention that the show rather quickly and completely forgets a rather interesting plot device in "making the main cast the class representatives" which could have sparked some more interesting situations to happen. The anime didn't use the potential of some of the introduced elements and instead went along with the most generic and uninspiring way possible - a completely vanilla romance with no backdrops or anything else for you to care about. Didn't like the romance? Tough luck, there's nothing else for you here.
Animation and Sound:
There's nothing so much to talk about the animation, the art looks good but the chibi-looking face expressions were sometimes unnecessary and distracting, and made the show's comedy look like trying too hard.
The soundtrack is worth mentioning as having a few emotional pieces and rather well timed songs. It is easily the best technical aspect of the show, and you should look forward to the official soundtrack release. Another mention is Yuki Kaji in his role of Kou, which was executed outstandingly. I rather have him voicing these kind of characters rather than screamy kids (Eren, Satomi), cause here he can unfold his full potential.
Ao Haru Ride is just an extremely cliched and generic title. The execution is decent, however it could have been better, but there are just no other hooks or interesting elements or setting to keep you interested, and it gets boring half-way through unless you absolutely love the characters. Not everyone's the same though. If you like Shoujo romances, then it's definitely a watch. It is not a bad show, but it is not a good one either. It is right down the middle, and that's why it deserves the rating it gets.
Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) in the best sense can describe itself as a shoujo. The concept of a childhood girl developing a crush towards a boy is something that has been done over and over before. It also has a sense of innocence as the young Futaba Yoshioka sees boys as ‘violent’. The only exception is a boy named Kou Tanaka who she sees as gentle. The problem is that a simple misunderstanding leads to a separation between the two as Tanaka transfer from school. Simply put, the experiences that Futaba shared with Tanaka is a treasure. But that treasure right now is
buried away until one day….
Based off the manga of the same name created by Io Sakisaka, the series depicts a show that hits shoujo at its very core. Recognized perhaps for her character designs from the recent movie (HAL) and the manga Strobe Edge, Ao Haru Ride also stands out on its own in a variety of ways. It takes one of the most classic genres and steers it into a direction with honesty, drama, and a show full of charm. The time for Spring is one of those seasons when youth blooms. Ao Haru Ride follows a group of characters that becomes interconnected in a story of young love and growing up.
The story revolves a group of characters during their school days. It’s easy to say that school is a setting for people to grow up and perhaps change themselves. Futaba tries to do exactly that as she makes effort to be less girly. Her actions speaks louder than words too such as when she purposely eats more than appears to be to play down her girly side. The friends she has made essentially can also be seen as the tough crowd as they ostracizes her later on. Nonetheless, Futaba is a genuine kind girl as shown through her relationship with Yuuri, a pretty classmate who is despised by other girls. Other characters joining the story includes the lone wolf Shuuko Murao and the energetic Aya Kominato. Most importantly, Kou returns but now goes by the name “Kou Mabuchi”. This isn’t the only change though. Unlike his gentle self, the new Kou makes a 180 degree personality change with his sarcastic behavior and cold gestures. Really, you’re probably asking yourself what in the world happened, right?
Parts that can make you engaged to the characters is the diversity. Almost every character has a different personality yet they all become part of the story that gets interconnected in some way. A short arc during the show also gets the main characters together to on a camping trip where they must collectively work together to succeed. It takes on development routes as circumstances are bought up between characters as they grow closer. Examples include Kou and Yuuri where the latter seems to feel more towards him than just a friend. Similarly, Shuuko also begins to open up more after confessing her own interests. Regardless, the show connects relationships in a realistic way that can be relatable. Ever wondered how love ever blooms between certain people? Ao Haru Ride pushes the buttons between the characters to both show and tell exactly just that.
Perhaps the most prominent relationship throughout the show is between Kou and Futaba. After all, there’s so much contrast in their characters that a seemingly meaningful relationship between the two just seems to be impossible. There’s a lot of teasing and sarcasm between the duo despite an obvious mutual attraction. Jealousy is also an easy feeling that both characters feel throughout the show during various scenarios. But for what’s worth, their relationship will spark a curious interest. The “will they or won’t they?” will be one of those questions viewers will ask themselves a lot of the time. Their story stabs in the heart at times when moments are broken by misunderstandings or interruptions. Nonetheless, the show has grace and spirit and isn’t afraid to pull out moments that draws them closer together. On the other hand, Kou’s actions often contrasts what he says. In essence, he is one of those guys that isn’t being entirely honest with himself and struggles to be closer with others. This stark contrast to his childhood self is an interesting insight to see as Futaba tries to remember their times together. Speaking of which, Futaba’s feelings also resurfaces as she gets to know the current Kou. While his personality as a friend has changed, she recognizes that he is still the same person she comes to love. With a depth of flashbacks, it’s easy to see how these two can connect together despite being so very different.
No relationship can be without misunderstandings and love triangles. Ao Haru Ride doesn’t break far from that as it follows the cliché. The catch is that Futaba doesn’t wish to hurt others despite of her own feelings. A part of the story depicts her inner struggles to tell a friend about what she feels towards the boy. And if you guess right, that friend also shares the same feelings as the boy he fell for. Awkward moments must be accepted for enjoyment or this show will haunt you like a ticking time bomb. Luckily the show doesn’t play on a viewer’s patience too much. Even when it gets a bit intimidating, the show still is able to manage by with its clever humor and dramatic dialogues. They are often lighthearted with no shock value or profane scenarios. The slight problem sometimes though is the way it tries, especially with its dialogues during conversations. While the drama can get emotional and feel realistic, it has empty thrills and predictable outcomes. Furthermore, there’s little you can feel at times because of the stereotypes. And because Kou and Futaba are the main focus, there’s an obvious lack of characterization on the other characters. We don’t find out too much about other characters besides who they are on the surface and their personalities. In retrospect, they feel less conventional as the love triangle is more of a plot device to draw Kou and Futaba closer together. The collateral damage is the one that’s hurt as they become a cannon fodder; without the actual injury of course.
Besides romance, friendship and family values is also explored. The main girl trio (Futaba, Yuuri, Murao) often interacts in ways that girls should be like. The key difference is that Futaba’s new friends treats her with actual sincerity. I think it’s appreciable to see how they connect with different interests. They also open up with honesty and help each other out when help is needed the most. On the other hand, there is also some family connection between Kou and his brother Yoichi Tanaka. This isn’t much explored in depth but does show that the two shares a connection despite their different personalities. Just realize that it can be dull and the awkward meetings often feels static with little interest. Luckily, this is brightened up by the humor of the show. Playing as a class clown of sorts, Aya Kominato often brightens up the series with his ebullience. A noticeable factor about him is the fact that he doesn’t have much social issues unlike many of the others. His obvious crush on Murao is often seen as a comedy relief as the latter pays little attention to his advances. While this seems amusing, the problematic development between the duo is almost non-existent. Again, the main focus of the show is Futaba and Kou so don’t expect much depth on the others; at least not on the same level as those two childhood birds.
Artwork maintains a youthful appearance throughout the series. The background centralizes on the theme of Spring with the graceful weather, palate framework, and simple yet convincing imagery. The outdoors and weather has distinctiveness with its consistency. Flashbacks are cleverly decorated with aura-like water paint to illustrate youth. However, character designs are moderate. Most characters look stiff and movements are limited. There’s less much focus on how the characters look but rather than the moments they capture. Important scenes have longer focus with a cool down time before a transition. I think the purpose for this is to create new memories and show how characters make of them during those short yet meaningful moments. But nonetheless, studio Production I.G. brings its top notch A-game when it comes to overall animation adaptation.
Soundtrack is surprisingly strong even for a shoujo series such as this. Both the OP and ED songs have colorful imagery and symbolism. The OP song possesses both energy and a girly-like feeling while the ED song depicts more of a montage. OST is well-timed during key moments to bring out the best message of what they are motivated to do. Certain background songs are also played that further heightens memorable moments. This usually applies to scenes when characters’ connections seems to be at their closest almost if they are in their own little world. Character voice mannerism also deserves praise as well as we see a sharp contrast between the former Kou Tanaka and Kou Machibi. Shuuko is also noticeable for her cold mannerism as a lone wolf but slowly adapts to a more sincere girl through her change. On the other hand, Futaba’s voice can be irritating to listen at times with her stereotype.
For a shoujo series, Ao Haru Ride is surprisingly well structured based on its story. It has the look and feel of what a shoujo series should be with its characters, visuals, and other commonly seen tropes. While the show doesn’t characterize everyone at the same level, it’s interesting to see how their lives become interconnected through one and another. And through that, relationship are developed that can be everlasting. The show also does well with its realism and wastes little time to flesh out what it’s trying to do with the premise. Indeed, the show doesn’t stride far from where it begins as we see the relationship development between Futaba and Kou. An issue might arise that makes the audience ask themselves ‘was that it?’ or when the story feels repetitive. Still, with what it has offered up in its sleeves, I can say that Ao Haru Ride is definitely a ride worth taking.
"If you lose something, just build it again." - direct quote from the main character Futaba.
First off let me just say that the fact that I've read the manga already mildly hinders my ability to separate manga from anime...
The story is pretty well done. Of course it has ALL of the shoujo clique's that many shoujo fans will run into.
There's something about the story though that makes it a little more unique than your typical shoujo anime.
I did not really sense any corny-ness with the more serious moments in the anime as I would typical feel in a shoujo.
What I'm trying to say it that,
it felt real.
The situations felt pretty realistic to me & not so unimaginable or silly.
Your basic animation and art style for an Anime.
Of course not all art looks the same but the overall gist of it is your basic anime-shoujo style.
I bumped it up to an 8 because they changed the art to a very oil pastel look for the backgrounds when they would show a flashback. I found that pastel look to be very enjoyable & more interesting than making the flashback fuzzy/blurry.
Bottom line, the Art is cute.
At first the opening/ending/BG music was too cute for me.
You know that point of cute where it's almost obnoxious?
That's how it felt for me...AT FIRST.
But you get to know the characters and story-line more as you watch & you start to notice how WELL the sound really fits the anime.
As serious as it gets sometimes...that's not the theme or message.
It's lighthearted. It's fun.
And the opening is very fitting. The bouncing up & down beat sets up the story because it shows how up & down the characters situations are.
Streaming off from the SOUND comment,
the characters are all just trying to make the best of the situation and the opening represents that really well.
Here's a bit of a warning...
I do not think you will like every part of any one of the characters.
Like books, characters are not always meant to be relatable or liked.
All of the characters CAN be likable IF you accept the side of them that is NOT likable.
That's what the anime is about.
You can have all the unlikable traits you want but if you just (stemming off from what the Anime will eventually show what the characters want...) "open up your heart", you WILL be accepted.
Corny thought? Yes.
But this is the best way I can explain the characters.
Had to give a 7 though because all were very predictable characters.
I said above that I read the manga. The manga is AMAZING. As with any manga-to-anime adaption, the manga is always best.
A cleaner set-up to situations.
Better understanding of characters. (Although the Anime did throw in some really good quotes/one-liners!)
HOWEVER, I still enjoyed the Anime.
I enjoyed actually watching how the characters move. How they interact. Grow. The funny faces/body language they would make.
Very enjoyable...if you have patience.
If you're tired of that stoic shoujo boy then you shouldn't watch this because I doubt you'd be able to stomach how stoic the boy is at first.
I found the Anime to be well made.
It was a decent adaptation from the manga. Included A LOT of major & key things as well as set it up for....wait for it...
THE NEXT SEASON.
Hint hint to non-manga readers, that person we briefly get introduced to in the end is going to be an important person in the next season.
If it gets renewed for the next season. *fingers crossed*
I'm telling you guys...the things that happen WILL make you keep watching :)
I have not read the source material for the show and the following review is for the anime adaption only, the manga, LN or other source material is not included in my review of this anime.
Ao Haru Ride is a character driven romance between the two main characters Kou and Futaba. The show kicks off when Futaba recognizes Kou at her high school and goes on from there.
I pretty much already went over the basic premise but, it's also important to know that Kou and Futaba knew each other in middle school. The premise itself is kind of generic which isn't entirely bad. I liked
how the two main characters had met in the past and, now Kou was entirely different for reasons unknown to Futaba and the viewers. It was a good way to hook people.
I enjoyed the art of the show. It was colorful and, the character designs fit the settings and, the characters themselves. The art is distinguishable from other series but isn't anything unique or all that interesting.
The show had a good OP and ED. The music during the show was appropriate and, sounded nice. Also, there was some good voice acting for the characters, especially Kou.
Sadly, most of the characters in Ao Haru Ride aren't all that great. The characters I didn't like were Yuuri, Kominato, Murao and Kou.
In the case of Kominato and Murao, they didn't add anything to the story. The show would have been the same if they weren't there. So why were they in the story, I don't know? In addition to not having a point, they aren't particularly interesting and, the viewer isn't really given a reason to care for them.
Yuuri is the second member of the Kou fan club and, the third member of the show's love triangle. The problem with her is that again, she doesn't do anything for the story, it would have been the same if she was removed from the show. All she does after befriending Futaba is obsess over a CD she borrowed from Kou. The fact that she and, Futaba both love Kou is supposed to be a source of conflict for herself and Futaba but, it doesn't really cause any issues in their relationship. Her love for Kou doesn't cause any conflict for the two main characters Kou and Futaba. Why I didn't include her with the other two pointless side characters is because Yuuri is supposed to have a purpose. She is supposed to be a part of the story. She is supposed to cause conflicts between the two main characters and, have conflicts with them but, she fails at all of the points I listed.
Kou starts off as an interesting character. The viewer is after all supposed to be drawn into the show by his mysterious change from being kind and, quiet to cold and, "too cool to care". My problem with Kou isn't that he can be an annoying, angsty teenager. My problem is that he isn't a consistent character. Somewhere around episode 7 or 8 all of his progression just disappears until the final episode. It feels really unnatural and, forced for the sake of the "story" which is finding out why Kou is different then he was before.
Ao Haru Ride forces this unnatural character reset by having Yuuri and, Futaba pursue Kou before they find anything out about him. If the writers would have put the revelations about Kou's past at the start of the show and, then had Futaba and Yuuri try to get with him everything would have made more sense and, Kou wouldn't have had to have a forced character reset.
Futaba, and Kou's brother are the only other relevant characters in the show. They are both members of the Kou fan club and, I didn't have any particular problems with either of them. That being said they aren't really all that great of characters either since the only thing about them that matters is how they feel about Kou.
I enjoyed the beginning of the show. It may have been a generic premise but, it was well executed. I wanted to know more about the characters and, was interested to see how the show would progress. However, the addition of the side characters, love triangle and, after Kou's character reset, Ao Haru Ride just wasn't all that interesting or, something I really cared about anymore. One scene that left a terrible impression with me was when Kou told Futaba that he could sexually assault her if he wanted to after climbing on top of her. I just felt that it was unnecessary and, in bad taste.
I gave Ao Haru Ride a 4/10. It has good art and music but neither of these elements overcome the pit falls of the show. The biggest problem of the show is that it forces character "resets" for the sake of the story. Another problem is that the side characters don't do anything to warrant their inclusion in the show. For reference the most useful side character is Kou's brother whose only job is to feed Futaba information about Kou and, his back story. Finally, I really hated the creepy sexual assault scene.
***DISCLAIMER*** I have not read the source material for the show and the review is for the anime adaption only. The manga, light novel or other source material is not included in my review of this anime.
**I have only seen the anime of Ao Haru Ride and this review is only based on that.
So as a person who rarely watches Shoujo anime this was a first for me, so keep that in mind.
Ao Haru Ride/Blue Spring Ride/アオハライド ; 12 episode a 20minutes, aired from July to September 2014; Comedy, Drama, SoL, Romance, Shoujo, School; licensed by Sentai Filmworks
Ao Haru Ride starts with a premise that seems typical for this type of anime - a slice of life show that wants to show the development of a romance and of the characters. The story is set in high school and focuses
around a small group of teenagers. Mostentimes, these kind of animes are made by the nuances, the art and the soundtrack since the story is mostly very linear, predictable or repetitive. This is partly the case here aswell.
Like I already mentioned, the storyline of this type of anime are very linear and predictable, and this is also the case here. It could honestly be worse, but I wouldn't call it an extremely sophisticated and good story. But it surely isnt bad. It revolves around the classical trope of re-meeting a past lover in your 2nd life/later life, and this is also the case here. Futaba meets Kou again after they spent a term in middle school together and fell in love. However, both of them changed, but the feelings obviously remain. The anime does a good job in focusing around their relationship and its development as they get to know each other and learn what happened in the time they missed. Sadly some interesting side characters are a bit left out in the story development - Murao, Kominato - but its only natural for the plotline.
I dont know too much about the producing studios so I cant tell much about their reputation/part in the production of the art, but it sure is good. In the beginning, I thought some parts of it were strange, but in the end I was fully captured by the beautiful color selection and the well-animated motion scenes. I gave it a 10 because it felt like the art was very much perfect for the vibe the story had created. You will not be disappointed by the art thats for sure.
I'm not a particular fan of the japanese music nor of anime music, so normally I dont give particularly good ratings for the sound. However the OP and ED were both very fitting and enjoyable, and the music choice in the series also just perfect for the situation. Funny fast music for comedic sccenes, slow and monotone for dialogues and thinking and enjoyable and vivid for love and happiness scenes.
While I think the characters are all extremely realistic and well-portrayed, the predictability and the underdevelopment of very interesting characters steals quite some points here. Others may disagree, but oftentimes a shift of focus onto the supporting characters, especially in the later part of the series, would have helped a lot to show the progression of the group of friends. But the two main characters are explained and focused very deeply which adds more spice and sense to the storyline, which is a really good thing (uff phrasing).
I personally would call this an "anime oozing with love, cuteness and understanding" but that wouldnt exactly be true. However, its the part which made the series so good for me: just a lot of romance coupled with the problems of everyday life and battling with depression. The mutual help the two mains give each other to overcome their problems is portrayed in such a good and convincing way, the romance was just bound to come. It all felt very realistic and the extremely good portrayal of such deserved to get a 9/10.
Shortly said: The predictability and linear part of the storyline was largely compensated by the amazing art and the well-thought character development. Depening on your personal feelings and attitudes, you will enjoy this anime or enjoy it a lot - its open to you. I would suggest everyone who likes romance and school SoL animes to watch this show, its really good.
Forecast: I won't read the manga, but what I heard and read about it it seems to be really good and clearly adds a deeper thought and process to the relationship between Kou and Futaba. To my knowledge it has already ended or atleast it will this spring, but I'm not entirely sure. Also I predict that this anime will get a 2nd season - the ending of the first clearly leaves a lot of room for story improvement.
**This is my first review, nor is english my native language so bear with me. If you have any feedback PLEASE tell me so I can improve. I will write a review for every anime show I watch from now on, so I do want to write good quality reviews. Thanks for your reading!
Ao Haru Ride, unlike other shoujo anime with a profusion of side stories, has a very straightforward storyline (although not much of an original one considering that most of its elements are parallel to others with the same setting and genre). What makes it unique, however, is that the conflict is softly given focus throughout the series, causing viewers to feel unanticipated emotions in the culmination of the story wherein the characters reveal their hidden sides (weaknesses and strengths included) and emotional baggage.
I highly recommend this anime to individuals who are looking for a warm and charming anime that will enkindle thrill, sorrow and
feelings of hopefulness.
I hate to go against the grain of other reviews here, but holy ever-loving HELL, this series irks me. I've come too far not to see it through to the bitter (and obvious) end, but so far it's essentially a compliation of every dysfunctional anime relationship meme known to man piled into one stomach-churning series.
Desperately doki-doki girl whose insistent, stalker-y love will no doubt cure him of whatever traumatic past event turned him into an asshole? Check.
Silently walking three steps behind the man portrayed as quality relationship building?
Super-squicky scene where he forcibly pins her down to "teach her a lesson" about how easily she could be molested by other guys? Followup where the squick just makes her super doki-doki? Check, check, and double-check.
Ugh. Just uugggggh. If the above is your thing, by all means: have at it.
It absolutely befuddles me how this anime managed to get a rating of almost 8. I had heard it was clichéd, but that it managed to have a fresh approach on those clichés. I heard it was both funny and emotional. Nope. Not at all. This anime is the same old clichés used over and over again. I find it almost insulting that multiple users recommended this for fans of "Tonari-no Kaibutsu-kun", a beautifully done anime which has essentially nothing in common with this anime, and has characters a million times better than those in "Ao Haru Ride".
This is one of those anime where the
guy treats the girl like crap and yet she somehow ends up falling for him. This is one of those anime that says if a guy is hostile towards you it just means he cares. This is one of those anime that says no matter how horrible a person is, if you love them enough you can change them.
Here is a list of some of the clichés used in this anime. There are two girls that are just so pretty that the guys all love them and as a result the girls all hate them. Petty love triangles. Girl falls for a guy because he shows basic human decency. Girl falls for the guy even though he's a huge ass that emotionally, physically, and verbally abuses her. Overprotective love interest. Long lost love. Girl stalking the guy she likes. Other annoying crap.
Was this why I stopped watching the anime? No, the reason is much simpler and much more disturbing than that. What is it, you ask? It's when Kou tells Futaba she could get hurt if she walked around alone at night. It's when she doesn't know what he's talking about, so he pins her to the ground and makes a move as though he's going to sexually assault her. It's when he basically says "I could rape you if I wanted to." It's the fact that that messed up scene is supposed to be viewed as him just caring for her, and her seeing that as a sign of affection and being totally okay with it. THAT is where I drew the line.
So if you're okay with clichéd anime that portray young women as being idiots who have a tendency to fall in love with jerks, guys who treat the girls they have feelings for like gum on the bottom of their shoes (because we all know that if a guy is terrible to you, it means he secretly likes you—yeah, no; didn't believe it when my grandmother told me that about the bully I had in first grade, and I don't believe it now), stupid people, and guys who act like they're superior because they happen to have a Y chromosome, then go ahead. Watch the anime.
** i haven't read or seen anything related to ao haru ride except for this anime adaption so my review will be based on the anime ***
--- Summary ---
Reuniting with your first love can be a very confusing process , in this series we see our love birds meeting each-other for the first time in three years ,
futaba " our heroine " was a very shy feminine middle-schooler , that fell in love with another shy sweet middle-schooler named tanaka , on their first date we see a mini depressed futaba that is anxiously waiting for her date , but unfortunately mr.tanka
couldn't make it
" After 3 years "
despite having a very girly room , we see our futaba as a very guy-ish rough girl
she has this second persona so she can make friends , on her last semester as a high-school freshman ,futaba runs into a guy that looks exactly like her beloved tanaka
she followed him until they reached the place where they first met on a rainy afternoon
but the problem is
a- his name is kou
b- he isn't the same sweet gentle caring guy she loved
" caring for things brings a lot of trouble " - kou
our protagonist is a very careless character , he doesn't care about anything or anyone " or that is what we think " he is a stoned face character with a light heart and a tease-loving personality
represents every lost teen in this galaxy , she wants other people to be happy but she wants to be happy too , despite being completely guyish some fellow classmates find her attractive , she wants to change , she wants to make great memories with warm hearted friends so she can always look back at her high school days with a smile on her face
i don't want to spill the beans for the side characters but i will mention 2 things
1- they are very lovable and realistic
2- they add ALOT to the story
it follows a very simple / plain story line but it seems very special , and like every shoujo anime ,, school is the main force that pushes this story ,
it is too dramatic to be considered a romcom ,, so it falls under the slice of life / drama category
it was beautiful but kind of gloomy and soft it fits the concept very well ,
I LOVED the OP it was very good , the voice actors were good too
i really enjoyed watching it but sometimes it felt too real ,, and i don't think that being too real is a good quality in an anime , i loved the adorable love scenes they were portrayed in a very beautiful way so it gets an 8 for that #feels
over all 8/10
i would recommend this one for every shoujo lover , or anyone that just wants to watch a youthful romance in a very short period of time " 12 episodes "
that's it for this review enjoy !
I wanted to watch Ao Haru Ride just because it's shoujo, and I really like shoujo. I put my hopes up high with this anime. I heard GREAT things about the manga and so I expected the anime to be as fascinating. What I found was good but not as good as I wished.
It was... typical. Very, very typical. Girl and Boy are in love since years ago. Girl still is. Boy says he's not. Another Girl falls in love with Boy. Girl and Another Girl are best friends. That's cool, I'm not saying it's not, but it's not surprising anyone. Does Boy actually
love Girl? Well, read the manga.
Also, story develops slowly which is good. You see how five friends start to like each other and end up thinking of a future together. There are cracks in the way but they do care about their friendship.
However, I wish we had more about Murao and Tanaka's storyline. I can't explain why, but I found their story more appealing than Futaba-Mabuchi's.
Animation was really good. Scenes were colorful, bright and just nice to watch. Sometimes the design of characters seemed rushed but close-ups were amazing. Also, pastel colors in flashbacks were A+.
It's weird for me to say this because I usually never pay attention to soundtrack in anime, but I enjoyed it so, so much. The soudntrack just FITS and the opening is catchy and cute. I can't explain it any better.
I guess I was... kinda disappointed. At first I thought Mabuchi was an asshole. He doesn't feel comfortable enough to get out of the shell till the end. He's misterious, quiet. He has this dark vibe around him that many may find attractive. Well, I have to say that I didn't and still don't.
Futaba reminded me of Misaki (from Kaichō wa Maid-sama!) and Risa (from Lovely Complex), characters who I adore. Futaba, however, pretends to be unladylike just to fit while Misaki and Risa actually are like that. It was interesting to see how she and Mabuchi develop in their true self towards the end.
Yuuri was too cute for me, to the point that it was kinda irritating. On the other hand, we have her opposite, Murao, who I liked a lot.
It was good. I mean, not amazing, but it was good. It'll probably warm your heart but you won't think of Ao Haru Ride the morning after you finish the anime. At least, I didn't.
If I was 16 years old, I would have enjoyed this story a lot more than I did. I guess I'm getting old because I found the whole anime kind of childish (honestly I don't even know what I was expecting, they're in high school). It was still good tho.
What I found interesting is that this anime kinda teachs you to be true to yourself. At first, you find that everyone is who they want to be- but who they want to be is not who they really are.
But MAL isn't letting me make such a short review so the rest is padding and a general view of the usage of cinematography in Anime.
What primarily makes animation different from film is the complete creative control over the medium. This means that what previously had to be sought out in small spaces of reality, the perfect shot, the perfect actions, the perfect outplay of emotions, can now be rectified to the minute-test detail. Tarkovsky, the famous Russian film director, had to reconstruct his family home from scratch in the middle of a beautiful plot of Russian field and
forest during the filming of The Mirror. In The Sacrifice he had to pull off a 7 minute long shot of a burning house which he couldn't re-do due to the lack of budget to rebuild the house. This doesn't have to be done in animation. In theory one could do away with editing altogether and have seamless flowing animation. The only film I know that uses a single shot for the whole film is Russian Ark. Animation doesn't need the vast set required to film like that, it can simply metamorphosize one shot into another.
Yet of course budget concerns force animators to still edit in shots. We need our premade backgrounds to cut corners. If Shinkai had made a 5cm Per Second where everything moved as vibrant as life itself besides being romantically beautiful the project probably would have crashed and burned. Some animators carry over their techniques from cinema to animation. Hideaki Anno's training in live film can be seen in the way he perfects atmosphere through his isolated shots, not just for action to action transitions. Shinbo is able to maximize the power of editing by using lightning fast montages to convey speed to his works.
Animation also allows the control of colour palette and complete composition. Ao Haru Ride uses the pastelly color palette of traditional shojo to lighten the mood while White Album 2 (which I watched at the same time) carries over its Visual Novel influence by giving everything a Shinkai-ish gleam and use high lightning contrasts and chiaroscuro in its most beautiful red evening shots. Shinbo's minimalism stands out on its own and the peak of oneiric animation is seen through his collaboration of Gekidan Inu Curry for Madoka Magica.
In animation everything can move and every dream is true. The European animation The Illusionist is an example of complete generosity. Every shot is cluttered with activity and jokes, following the comedic film-philosophy of Jacques Tati. One could say that the main philosophical thrust of animation should be Panta Rei. It should reflect the dreaming river of the world.
The greatest sin of animation is a lack of imagination and movement. Movies can get off being slow and dictated by a stonish reality. Books can get off being prosaic and preachy. If you want to be preachy in animation the world must move with your words. That's why Bakemonogatari works. Animation is the bastion to save one from the horror vacui. It is Borges' Total Library or the world of Tlon. Miyazaki acknowledged that the primary drive of animation was dreams. People must not forget that its a medium where anything is possible.
Still if we let everything BE possible we would find ourselves in a bloated stew. Even the variety of Spirited Away has an ordering principle behind the shots and reveals. The world of limitless imagination is a monster that eats away at logic and sanity. Evangelion is a documentation of that edge, much like how Artaud's poetry was in the past.
Our ambition is to have a medium that contains everything, our songs, our dreams, our nightmares, our depths and our surfaces. We should, when dealing with animation, have a voracious greed to expand this illusory world with experiences, and in doing so paradoxically expand the reaches of the real as well.
It's rare that I write a good review, but Ao Hara Ride deserves it.
Ao Haru Ride is a breath of fresh air in the cliche-ridden Shoujo genre, where i seems like half of shoujo anime are carbon copies of one another.
Ao Haru Ride offers something new, interesting, and touching, with relatable but unique characters, great development, an interesting plot and beautiful, unique art and music that tugs at your heart.
The main heroine is the usual happy, cheerful type, but she has extra layers that make her complex, interesting, and unique Futaba changed her appearance and attitude in order to fit in with her group
of friends- she eats a lot, wears no makeup, and makes her hair messy so she won't look cute, because in middle school she was bullied by jealous girls due to the attention she received from men. Who can't relate to this- this desire to change yourself in order to fit in? The desire to have friends so badly that you even believe there's something wrong with you, and you need to be different?
The story also makes a strong - and again, relatable - point that the friends you make when you change yourself and act like someone you aren't to fit in, aren't real friends- real friends love and accept you for who you are. The scene where Futaba is alone and starts crying, and Kou hugs her so her old friends can't see she is crying, and he tells her those aren't her real friends- that is one of the most touching scenes in anime.
The anime is full of touching scenes that resonate in your soul, leave you thinking and teary eyed yet smiling.
Kou, for example, comes off as an arrogant, cheeky guy, but he's actually very sensitive, serious and closed off to the world. Futaba has to work to understand him, the pain he's been through, and we can all relate to Kou as well- who built up walls to keep people out, only to see who would care enough about him to break down those walls. His character's changes were also very realistic, and his pain was relatable - lots of people experience what he did and react similarly.
Ao Haru Ride may look like just another sweet school romance anime, but it has so many touching themes and ideas. It touches on the importance, sweetness, and pain of relationships- both romantic, familiar, and friendship ones - and many other ideas that teenagers and everyone can relate to. It truly is wonderful, refreshing, and beautiful in every aspect. My only complaint was...I guess the animation could've been better?
A white shirt. That's what Ao Haru Ride reminds me of.
As more and more shoujo, school-life animes with all the romance and complications that come with it are released; people are starting to see the typical pattern of the girl meets boy or vice versa. Ao Haru Ride follows this pattern which is present in most popular shoujo/school/romance animes; however this does not mean it isn’t worth your time.
I gave the story a 7 (Good), for the sole reason of the anime exploring the changes that occurs in one’s life when they push themselves out of their comfort zones. The anime encourages young individuals to
fully experience their youths and to never hesitate on their decisions which can positively affect their life. It also shows the importance of expressing a person’s individuality, especially in the society we live in now, where there are many pressures to change one-self, for the benefit of others. The 3 points lost was due to the fact that the story, romance-wise, follows a common pattern, mentioned above in the previous paragraph.
9 (Great) for the artstyle. The high points given were due to the expression of character as well as their situation and ambient feel. Ao haru ride uses common, yet effective ways to communicate the characters emotions and their environment to the audience.
Sound was also given a 9 because of how effective it communicates the character’s emotions to the audience.
The charactersation of the characters in Ao Haru Ride accurately reflects the attitudes of most people who are in high school, that’s why it got a 10 (outstanding). The main heroine protagonist Yoshioka Futaba is always putting up a façade in order to blend in with the crowd. The anime really excels at showing the progress as well as the few stuff ups she’s made to change her life throughout the series, and it shows that every little thing you do counts. The main male protagonist, Mabuchi Kou is complicated. He was initially a shy-boy during his junior highschool years, however his personality changed due to the events mentioned in the series. His attitude towards school is nonchalant, yet he always pushes the heroine to a better path whenever she strays from it. He is kind, but also distant. The other characters like Murao Shuuko and Makita Yuuri also are very realistic and interesting characters. Particularly Makita Yuuri, who, unlike the heroine, did not decide to put a façade in order to fit in at school. Therefore, the combination of realistic and interesting characters which makes up Ao Haru Ride has given it a 10/10.
The enjoyment throughout watching the whole series was 7 (Good). This is because I have personally watched many shoujo-romance animes which is reminiscent of this one, which takes away the excitement from knowing the outcomes of character decisions as well as situations. However, if you are still new to the shoujo-romance-highschool genre, this is definitely worth a try.
The overall score is 8. The main positives which contributed to the high score were the Art, Sound and the Characters. However the fairly common patterns in romance-shoujo animes are present in Ao Haru Ride, making it a pretty flat series. Despite this, like a white shirt, Ao Haru Ride, is simple, effective and suits every situation. It’s best for all ages, although younger audiences might gain more wisdom from the moral of the series as well as the characterisation.
This is my first review on MAL so excuse me if it's sorta bad d:
I'll be quite honest, I'm usually only really big on anime with magic, action, with comedy and possibly some romance all thrown in. This anime appears to just basically be your usual school/romance anime, but it's so much more than that. I can say for sure that Ao Haru Ride has become my favorite romance anime (not including comedy/romance) there was comedy thrown in but i look at this as a romance, not a comedy.
The story is very basic and isn't totally outstanding but it's the characters themselves that got
me hooked. The art is very unique and wonderful (Production I.G. is personally my favorite studio and always seems to do a fantastic job). I absolutely loved this anime and had so much fun watching it, it's a romance but it can be so intense at some points as if you were watching a fight scene in Attack On Titan. It had me cheering, upset, happy, excited, just everything. Whenever Kou and Futaba were together I just got so excited and interested.
Like I mentioned earlier, the story and overall plot itself isn't that unique or outstanding but the backstory behind Kou is where the story really shines and shows how Kou has became sorta the heartless person he is today.
I highly recommend watching this anime even if you aren't too into the whole romance thing. I had so much fun watching this and it even had me jumping out of my seat at one point or another O.O There are very few romance anime that I can say i actually thoroughly enjoyed, but this tops them all. And if you do like romance anime, why haven't you watched this yet? Get to it!
After a long time debating whether or not I should watch this short anime I decided to give it a shot
It starts off sweet, 2 people who loved each other in middle school finally reunited, but the problem is that they have both changed and don’t love each other the way they are now. There’s plenty of things to keep you interested in this anime especially if you like romance, comedy and school based anime’s. The plot may seem to drag on a little at times but isn’t too bad once you get into it. One thing that I hated about the plot was
the love triangle that was added. It just seemed unnecessary and how quickly Futaba’s friend fell for Kou despite hardly knowing him while the protagonist has known him longer. Despite that the anime was enjoyable.
I enjoyed the art style of this anime, it looked polished and done well.
The music was surprisingly good and fit with the story well. The opening has nice art and a good song. The voice acting is good and nice to hear.
The main characters Futaba and Kou are interesting and have interesting personalities. They show there love without talking about it and in their own way without letting the other find out. Although Kou was annoying some of the time, well I guess he had a lot of growing up to do. At times I wish he would be more serious and care about stuff as he was in the past. The other side characters are kind of realistic, a girl who secretly loves her sensei and didn’t have friends before, the other is a shy girl whose behaviour resembles what Futaba’s was like during middle school.
I enjoyed watching this as I enjoy love stories and shoujo here and there.
Summary: Ao Haru Ride takes place in your typical Japanese high school like many other animes of its genre. Overall it centers over main character Futaba who is in her second year of high school. It begins with immediate flashbacks to middle school where she meets the sweet Kou Tanaka. The two begin to get close making it obvious that a romantic relationship could start. But because of her classmates' rude comments regarding how appealing Futaba is to guys, she begins to feel insecure. They say that because she is so appealing to the boys in school, girls don't want to be her
friend. So in attempt to shed the image of being the "cute girl" she makes the loud statement that she doesn't like guys, AT ALL. Of course Kou overhears this without ever knowing her true feelings. Fast forward to Futaba's second year of high school and she is now popular with more female friends even though they may be fake at times. She achieves this through trying to act more masculine. Meanwhile, Kou has moved away and lives elsewhere in Japan. When he moves back Futaba has to deal with the drama that surrounds his return.
I give the plot of this show a 7/10 because it tends to be generic and follows a lot of the typical anime tropes. There's a lot of back and forth and wishy-washyness throughout which can get a bit annoying at times. The reason I give this a higher score is because the emotional aspects of it make you want to stay with the plot and root for the main characters. The worst thing about this anime in my opinion is that it ends way too abruptly. Being only 12 episodes long, you can expect them to have a hard time telling the whole story in great detail without skipping a lot of things. Having read the manga, this anime ends before the real meat and potatoes of the story even begins. There's a couple of characters that we don't even meet in the anime. It's the kind of anime that leaves you wanting to read the manga. If you like the anime I definitely recommend reading the manga to get even more of this sweet story.
I would give the characters a 10/10 if it wasn't for some of the annoyingness of the 2 main characters. Futaba is really sweet and means well but she can tend to be the typical shoujo ditz at times. Kou can also get super indecisive and lies about his true feelings which can get on your nerves at times. But at the end of the day all of the characters are pretty likeable. I also feel that they did an excellent job with characterization despite the short time frame. You really feel connected to all of the major characters and get into their story. There's always the wish to get into more backstories with certain people, but not even the manga delivers that.
Music doesn't really play a huge part in this anime. But when it does, it really brings out the emotion. I wouldn't say it brought me to tears at any point, but it definitely ties together the scenes when it's used. The theme song is also nice and catchy. It will get stuck in your head!
The animation in this in my opinion is pretty strong. It has a lot of lighter colors and smooth edges. For such a short anime they took the time to make it look pretty darn good. It also sticks very close to the style of the manga. Like any anime it has it's moments where the animation looks a little wonky, but overall a job well done.
I give this anime and 8/10 because even with its generally generic plot and characters that can get a little tiresome at times, the anime brings emotion and a truly moving story. The animation is pretty spot on and if you enjoy the musical aspects of a show you will enjoy that as well. In addition if you like a good dramatic romance with a *SPOILER) happy ending, this anime is for you. And again, if you watch this a like it, I strongly recommend that you read the manga which is already finished. It will leave you wanting more.
“But I think it’s natural that not everything you try will go well, right? So, I’m gonna start again from scratch.”
Look at me, I’m stepping out on a limb again. Ao Haru Ride is not a show I would typically watch, but I have slowly adapted my tastes to include the romantic genre of anime. I will add though, Ao Haru Ride would not have been a good show even if romance was my favorite genre. There are sparks of good writing and character development, but they get utterly squashed by the fact that nothing… happens in the entire anime.
There’s no bizarre twist, no seriously dynamic characters, not much of anything. The anime is very plain and unfulfilling to watch. But, nonetheless I’ll dive head-first into my review.
As previously stated, nothing groundbreaking seems to happen in Ao Haru Ride. It’s a generic love story archetype with Yoshioka Futaba, a young high-schooler at its center. She used to be in love with a boy name Kou in middle school, but Kou has changed quite significantly over the past couple of years. This causes Futaba to mindlessly chase the image of the old Kou while desperately trying to understand the new one. It does give a pretty good perspective of a teenage girl’s mind, as it often struck me as hilarious with some of the things she would get stressed about etc. Ever since Futaba was seemingly rejected by Kou in middle school, she changed her appearance and personality to become less attractive. Now reintroduced to her former lover, Futaba takes on the role of class representative in hopes to get Kou’s attention. He and a few others follow suit, and there we have our cast of MC’s. The rest of the characters are written in almost unnecessarily, as this anime almost entirely hinges on Kou and Futaba.
I feel the class representative element could’ve been uniquely incorporated in the show, but it served as nothing more than a small plot device to get the characters acquainted. The rest of the love story pans out slowly, and uninterestingly. The climax of the show involves both Futaba and Kou crying with each other, but doesn’t feature a single kiss. Honestly, even the conclusion of the anime is open-ended. Did they get together or not? It’s like the writer of the series was like…. “Who cares if they got together? It’s all about the ride!” Except there was no ride at all, just mere attempts at a romance element. There’s also two random love triangles thrown in the mix to make it worse. The one with Yuuri, Kou and Futaba seems unrealistic. I feel it’s not realistic for two high school aged girls to be in love with the same guy and have a friendly rivalry over it. The writers missed an opportunity for some better writing here. Also, the one with Murao, Kikuchi and Kou’s brother was entirely unnecessary and only detracted from the main story. I’m not sure what I expected out of the show as a whole, but certainly it was more than what I got.
Yoshioka Futaba is a pretty vanilla MC. Cute, misunderstood and desperately in love with a boy who appears not to give her the time of day. She does go through some character growth throughout the series, but nothing groundbreaking. Kou is a straight asshole, and undoubtedly hold the title for the best character in Ao Haru Ride. The loss of his mother and distance from his brother and father made his drastic personality change justifiable, and his changes throughout the series are evident by his strange but understandable interactions with Futaba. Yuuri annoyed the shit out of me, I can’t begin to explain my loathing for her character trope. No one is that cutesy in the real world. It just doesn’t work that way, so please stop writing in characters like this. Pretty please? Kikuchi existed only as a plot device for Murao, but seeing as to how she only spoke about ten lines in the entire show, he didn’t serve as much. I liked Murao’s character type but her background or love affair with Tanaka was never explained and left me actually confused. Tanaka actually seemed kind of creepy in dialogue he shared with Kikuchi with the end, basically saying “so what if I like her?”. What a creepy dude.
The artwork is what originally drew me to this show, especially in the first episode. It’s actually quite good. I like the character models a lot; they look quite unique when compared to other shows out recently. The environments are vivid and drawn exceptionally well, although some of the static scenes with dialogue felt a tad lacking. And, I think Japan was a tad too windy that year… I will say, I’m a sucker for the OP of Ao Haru Ride. It’s actually really good. Upbeat, cute and fun all describe it, and it made me look forward to the series even more. Too bad it didn’t quite deliver. The ED also did well for itself, emulating the overall feel at the end of each episode quite decently. Voice acting was good, most notably for one of my favorite actors, Yuki Kaji. He took a slight different approach than in Attack on Titan or Shinsekai Yori. The rest of the soundtrack was also placed well in the show, and the more dramatic scenes were captured well due to the execution of sound effects.
I wanted to enjoy Ao Haru Ride, I really did. The show just had so many things working against it. A boring and overused story line mixed with mostly bland characters doesn’t give you the recipe for success. I found myself getting bored at times, and that’s saying a lot with such a short anime. It would only recommend this to fans of romance animes, and the OST is probably worth downloading as well. Because of the bad taste in my mouth, it might be awhile until I watch another romance anime, but I understand there are far better shows in the genre. Thanks again for reading!
Love is a lot of things. Especially for young people. Sometimes, love can make you a better person. Sometimes, being loved can make you evolve. Love changes people, for the better or the worse. Such is the simple premise of Ao Haru Ride (AHR).
The story of AHR is a classic one. Yoshioka Futaba, a normal high school girl, meets her long lost middle school crush, Kou. Neither of the two have feelings for each other any longer, but upon meeting him again, Futaba falls in love. The story is as simple as that, Futaba denying her love, yet chasing Kou all the same.
This story is in no way original. But please, do not be fooled by the generic plot. Even without originality, AHR is classic shoujo at is best.
The pacing of AHR is, in my opinion, amazing. Of all the shoujo I have seen and read, AHR by far has the most natural development. The story, being an unoriginal slice-of-life, has a clear disadvantage in its innate dullness. The only way to really fight this is development of the plot. The faster the pacing, the less boring, right? And while this is true, too fast pacing makes a plot seem rushed and incoherent. AHR manages to move forward at exactly the right pace. The development of the characters' relationships are at all time present in such a way that you really feel that they get closer to each other with each moment, each conversation. The development seems so natural that it reminds me of myself making new friends. While the story mainly relies on the characters, small changes of setting (such as school trips, after school studying, etc.) are introduced regularly, moving the series farther from boring. The comedy as well is done at the right times, giving the series a comedic side, without spoiling the romance. All in all the dull core of the plot is handled very well and turned into a good story.
To round up about the pacing, I'd say that even the romance is well-paced. The development is smooth, more physical than you would usually see in shoujo - which is a good contrast to what is often seen in shoujo.
As in usual shoujo the side stories of the supporting characters are very important. While the stories of these are as cliched as the main one, they serve their purpose of spicing the series up well enough.
Apart from the unoriginality there are few inconsistencies in the plot, such as, for one, why it took Futaba almost a year to notice that she was in the same school as Kou.
While many people praise the art, I'd say it's good, but nothing amazing. The characters are, of course, extremely handsome in a cute, natural way. However, I wont give the anime much credit for that since the drawings in the manga are a lot better. The animated design of the characters is nice, but pretty medicore, considering the animation quality of this year. I'm honestly a bit disappointed that they didn't make better use of Sakisaka Io's beautiful style.
That being said, the art is overall nice. The backgrounds are done with water colours, giving them an extra cute, innocent feelings that fits the story. The same can be said about the colours, them mainly being light and unsaturated.
The sound is really one of the good point of the series. The opening and ending are well-fitting, the opening being upbeat yet cute, the ending a slow, emotional tune. The OSTs are bordering amazing. The main theme is a cute tune, bordering melancholic with slow pacing and piano, really contributing to creating the right mood. Generally, the music is really well-used - funny tunes being played at the comedic moments, an embarrassing tune for the weirder moments. As a tip of the iceberg, they have incorporated an amazingly sad and heartwarming song (I will by Chelsy) for romantic moments, really reflecting their tragic love story. The song is widely praised, and not without reason, just as it is used perfectly in the series, sometimes playing instead of dialogue.
The voice acting of the series is quite good as well. How fitting the cast is can be discussed, but the actors do quite good jobs. Kou (Kaji Yuki) does a superb job. Personally, I didn't think he fitted the role, but by the end of the series he had me convinced.
The one point where AHR really shines is the characters. I earlier said that the pacing was what saved the story from being boring and not worth a watch, while the pacing definitely contributes to making the series good, what really makes the story exciting, original even, are the characters.
Starting with the main character, Futaba, who is really just our annoying, boyish, usual shoujo heroine - or? Indeed in the beginning of the series, Futaba has so many annoying traits that she almost isn't likable. She is pretending to be boyish to gain friends who are even more annoying and superficial than herself. It is not only a horrible story, it has also been seen before. However, the development she experiences when she meets Kou is immense. She goes from selfish and stupid to being a sweet girl, thinking more about others than herself. Futaba becomes everything a shoujo heroine needs to be - and more.
The supporting characters are unoriginal, but they serve their purpose. Yuuri is the cutest thing ever, which creates the drama a shoujo needs. Murao is mature and refined, Kominato cheerful and friendly. The one character I really like - and see as more original - is Tanaka-sensei. I really like his role in the story and bringing in a teacher definitely spices up things. The supporting characters created drama and plot and they ensure that everyone can find a character of their liking in the series.
And now, last of all, I want to talk about Kou. Personally, I love Kou's indifferent, cold, cheeky character, and even though he might be unlikable to some, his rude character is explained throughout the story. Beneath all the layers of attitude, he is an emotional boy, haunted by his past. While we see the story from Futaba's point of view, the one the story really revolves around is Kou. Kou is the deep, clever character that question the actions of others. Kou is the one with the interesting background story. While Futaba's personality change early in the story, the development of Kou happens gradually, his story unfolding a little at a time, his heart opening ever so slowly. It is Kou that will make you laugh, it is Kou that will make you cry.
Ao Haru Ride is, in truth, an anime about Kou's development. An anime about how love can hurt you, change you, and how being loved a new may enable you to change again.
Ao Haru Ride is an emotional journey. It is not the plot but the characters and their strong feelings that will keep you glued to the screen. It is the characters' growth as persons that makes AHR worth a watch. Overall, AHR is an enjoyable series if you like a romantic story with good characters and a nice amount of comedy. I'm personally a big fan (of the manga also), so I enjoyed the series loads. I do not, however, count take enjoyment into account when making reviews.
Overall AHR scored:
AHR deserves something in between 7 and 8, depending on your relationship with the genre.
First of all, if you're a fan of some warm, fuzzy, mild romance anime in which everything turns out for the better, you should probably watch this.
This is a really good romance anime which depicts the romance between the characters throughout the whole series. I enjoyed watching it from the start to the end.
Yes, as in all romance, there is competition and some feels too. But overall, it's very enjoyable. And it's got a complete ending unlike most romance anime I've seen.
The start of the anime is really nice and gets better as the series progresses. And the ending is something that depends on
your taste. I won't spoil it here.
But do give it a watch. It is quite nice.